Locus of Control

I’ve been recently reading through Thrive by Rob Kelly. It covers many subjects (which I will definitely be writing about in the future) but one of the most striking concepts I have seen so far has been to do with the Locus of Control.

The general principle is that we each build up a system of reasoning – to help ourselves determine why things happen. We naturally look for patterns and find it comforting to reconcile our experiences against a system that explains why those things have happened.

This is where the ‘Locus of Control’ comes in. The locus (or location) of control for your mental framework is where you believe the influencing factors of you life are coming from. If you have an internal locus of control, you generally believe that you are influencing your own life through your decisions and behaviours. If you have an external locus of control, you believe that external factors have more influence in what happens to you.

Let’s say two people pass a exam. The person with an internal locus of control thinks ‘I worked hard for the exam, and I passed. The person with an external locus of control thinks ‘I was lucky to pass that exam.’

Having an external locus of control can lead to a negative mindset, as you feel less able to make changes in your life. It often presents itself as superstition, reliance on prayer and a belief in fate or luck

If you feel like you have an external locus of control you can practice bringing your decisions back into the experiences you have. Think about a positive thing that happened to you recently – what decisions did you make that lead to that positive thing? Try to do this whenever you have a superstitious thought, or wish yourself luck. Over time you can shift your mindset towards an internal locus of control, and embrace the decisions that you make about your life.

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